Literature Review on Gender and Fragility
Author: Wendy Harcourt
Size: 38 pages (270kB)
There is so far little literature that directly addresses the link between gender (in)equality and fragility, or gender equality in fragile states. The literature on gender and fragile states tends to focus on conflict and post-conflict reconstruction and not on the gendered dimensions and characteristics of fragile states. A more thorough, gendered understanding of state fragility is needed. Studies in Africa suggest the importance of promoting women's citizenship in fragile states through a women's rights agenda based on legal reform and increased participation in decision-making.
This review examines: 1) the literature and policy approaches on gender and development; 2) two clusters of topics that inform the newly emerging interest in gender and fragility – citizenship and governance and peace, security and conflict; and 3) the evolving gender and development policy approaches and new research that refers to gender and fragility with a focus on African states.
It finds that thinking on fragile states and state-building is not engaging with the existing body of work on gender and governance. There is also a gap between macroeconomic discussions on fragility and work on gender and fragility. Messages emerging from the literature on gender and fragility include the following:
Policy literature echoes earlier literature on gender and conflict, with most documents emphasising that gender relations often matter more in fragile states than other states. However, there is a gap between the promises made to put in place gender equality and the actions undertaken by donors and fragile states to do so. Implications for policymakers are that:
Harcourt, W., 2009, ‘Literature Review on Gender and Fragility', European Report on Development, European Commission